Body issues is a popular topic in literature. We can all relate in some way to not feeling insecure with some part of our DNA/God-given body. We all, however, cannot relate to obesity.
Butter is obese. Butter isn’t even the protagonist’s real name, but the name given to him by high school bullies and the name that everyone calls him. Everyone except for the girl he talks to on the Web. She knows the real Butter, even though he changes some details of physical appearance to her. She knows how much he loves music. She knows about the fraught relationship he has with his parents. She also happens to be the most popular girl at school.
After his obese friend drops some pounds (the only person to truly understand how Butter feels) and the pressures from his peers and parents gets to be too much for Butter, he concocts a plan — He is going to eat himself to death on a live webcast on New Year’s. Life takes an interesting turn for Butter when announcement goes live. Former bullies suddenly take an interest in hanging-out with Butter. They want to know if he is going to go through with it or if he is going to “wimp” out. (My slang, not Lange’s.) He actually gets to hang-out with the girl of his dreams in real life, but he’s torn. Does he have something to live for now, but is it because he is going to die?
Butter piqued my interest while Super Storm Sandy ravaged New Jersey. Once I started reading, I could not stop. While I had issues with the general structure of the story being weak, Lange’s attention to the details haunt me.
The emotions are real.
The stakes are real.
Lange pulls you along until the very end regarding Butter’s decision to go through with the plan. I think it was smart of Lange to give us Butter as it combines what peer pressure feels like in the 21st century with technology access.
Thumbs: 1 out of 2.